Creating Color Depth: Multitones & Transparency | Julia Williams | Skillshare

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Creating Color Depth: Multitones & Transparency

teacher avatar Julia Williams, Designer, Illustrator, and Maker of Things

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (16m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Separating Lights & Darks

    • 3. Creating Actions

    • 4. Adding Color Effects

    • 5. Creating Color Depth

    • 6. Thank you!

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About This Class

Learn to separate lights & darks into their own layers with transparency, allowing you to use all kinds of new color effects.

Meet Your Teacher

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Julia Williams

Designer, Illustrator, and Maker of Things


I have had a passion for art and making things ever since I can remember. I've been working professionally as a designer and illustrator in Boulder, CO, since 2011. I currently work at Anthem Branding, a creative branding agency that also specializes in apparel design and promotional products. In my free time, I love making all sorts of things - costumes, wearables, art, and music.

To view my design & illustration portfolio, head over to Designosaur.

Take a look at my blog, where I dump random interesting things, at the Designosaur Blog.

Instagram: @thedesignosaur

Etsy store coming soon.

See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. I'm Julia Williams, a designer and illustrator based in Boulder, Colorado. Today, I'd like to share a technique with you two separate lights from darks in your photos. Separating blacks and whites into different layers with transparency allows you a lot more freedom to play with colors and other interesting effects and photo shop and also sets you up for success. If you're planning on eventually screen printing your work, we'll begin with a high res photo will make it black and white and isolate the lights from the darks. And then we'll play with different layering and color effects. Let's get started. 2. Separating Lights & Darks: the first thing you want to do is you want to pick a high res photo. So I got this one from unspool ash dot com, which has a bunch of free, high res photos you can use. But feel free to use your own. You're gonna make the photo black and white by going down to the adjustment layers and choosing black and white. And I, like Teoh up the contrast quite a bit. So I'm gonna add in levels adjustment layer going to drag the blacks, uh, whites down. So we have a lot of contrasts in the photo. All right, So another a lot of areas that air pretty black, pretty stark black and a lot of areas that are a lot lighter. So that's exactly what we want. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna select all of these layers, come down to the layer menu and duplicate the layers into a new document. So we're in this new document, and we're gonna start separating the blacks and whites now, so I'm going to go command e or the same thing is layer flatten image so that you only have one layer. Make sure your color mode is RGB RGB color. Now you're gonna go to your channels palette. If it's not up here, go window channels and you're gonna delete two of the channel. So just select any two. It's going to change it. Weird colors. Don't be worried. They'll be fine. So now we have only one channel. So I'm gonna come over to the left tool palette and choose the Magic one tool, and I'm gonna hit control or right click. Well, I click on here and that's gonna give me a menu. And then this man you want, you want to choose the last option, which is load selection, and this is all correct. It should be that channel and new selection hit. Okay, well, that's still selected. Go to image mode and change it to gray scale. Go back to your layers palette, DoubleClick toe, unlock the background. And now we're gonna invert our selection by going shift command. I now you can delete that and you can diesel ect with command D. So this looks correct. We're gonna change the mode back to RGB. So it looks like we've separated, are black from our white right. But let's say we put a background color back there, you'll see that it doesn't look quite right yet on. That's because the pixels that were gray still have some white in them. So you're gonna select that layer, go to image adjustments, hue, saturation, and you're just going to bring the lightness all the way all the way to the left. So it's completely black. OK, you can delete that. So now we just have this black clear. So I'm gonna make that black, and now you're done. The way to get the lights a completely different layer is Remember when we had the selection and we inverted the selection? All you have to do is just not invert the selection. I know these steps can seem kind of confusing, and it's hard to remember them. So that's why we're going to create some actions to make this a lot easier. 3. Creating Actions: we're back with this image, and I'm gonna once again duplicate the layers to a new document, and I'm gonna flat in that. So it's one image, and now we're gonna make some actions to make this easier on ourselves. So we're just going to do the same process that we did before. Except we're gonna record it this time so that we can replay it with one click instead of having to go through all of the steps. So you're going to go to your actions palette. If it's not up here, go window actions. You're gonna go down here. There's a new action. I'm gonna call this isolate black. And now it's recording. So I'm just going to go back and do those steps that I just did. So I'm gonna make sure the image motives RGB going to go to the channels and I'm gonna delete two of them going to go to Magic one right click load selection. Okay, invert the selection. Make the mod gray scale double click, unlock the layer and delete nego image. We'll make it rgb again. Image adjustments, hue, saturation all the way to black. Then I'm gonna hit the square here to stop recording, so that should be good for our black. And let's let's do one really quick for the white. I'm gonna call it isolate White this time just going through the same steps again. This time, I'm not gonna invert the selection, though. Grayscale, please. And then when I go to the adjustments, you saturation, I'm gonna bring the lightness all the way to the front, and then I'm gonna stop recording. So now we've got isolate white and isolate black actions. So I'm just curious to see if he's worked so well. Duplicate the layers again. Okay. Gonna flatten this, and then I'm gonna run this action. Look at that. It worked. Now we'll try the white one. Just the check. Perfect. So, uh, now that we've got our actions, we can just do this in one click, which is so much faster and easier than going through those steps all the time, since they're really confusing 4. Adding Color Effects: So once you have these, you can either just use one or you can use both, and you can just change the background color. For example, here's the black one just changing the background color here, and then I can add a color fill or a color overlay. So going down to the effects color overlay, you can choose any color that you want for this black. If I wanted to bring that white layer in, I can do that. So I've got this white. Now I can do a color overlay on the white to make it any color I want what's also interesting that you can Dio is You can put a Grady in overlay on this, which gives a totally different effect. So this is pretty interesting, and you can't do this very easily without separating the black and white layers. So when I found out this trick, I thought it was just awesome. It allowed me to do a lot of stuff that I wasn't able to before. I mean, this could even be a great if you want, so there's a lot, a lot of different colors going on in here. It's a lot more interesting then what you might have been able to do if you hadn't had separated these colors 5. Creating Color Depth: So another thing that I like to do with this is you can add 1/3 level of color. It doesn't have to be just the blacks and just the whites. You can also add an in between level. So I'm gonna add another levels, layer the sun. I'm gonna bring the whites in more. So this is Onley gonna affect the blackest of the blacks. So that's gonna allow me to get some more tonal variations other than just the Grady in. So I'm gonna duplicate these layers into a new document again, flatten them and then run the isolate black on them. So now we've got this layer duplicate that back into the document that you were working in with all the colors. So you can see now that I have this totally different texture Now that I've added this back in over the Grady in that I couldn't have gotten otherwise. And you can add a color overlay to this, of course, to make it more interesting, kind of like this yellowy purple thing that's going on and then you can also do that with the whites if you want, So if you want to turn off at last levels Get another levels. This time we're gonna try Teoh. Just isolate a small amount of the bright white just to use for highlights. So I'll duplicate this all again. Latin the layers. This time I'll run. Isolate white, and I'll duplicate that into the color document I was working. So now we've got a really nice white layer, but and at a color overlays who or whatever you want And you know what, justice? I'm going crazy. I'm gonna have one more, just one more black layer. So blowout, almost everything. The blackest, blackest blacks There you have it, an image that has a lot of different colors in it. A lot of interesting Grady INTs and is also you could just completely separated by layer. She's only have some layers or not. So come in handy when your screen printing and have to separate by color. Or if you want Teoh overlay something white on a dark T shirt and you only want want to bring the highlights out 6. Thank you!: thanks everyone for taking this class. I hope you learned a little bit about separating layers in a photo and are inspired to try some cool new color effects. Please post your creations in the project section And don't forget to download the photo shop actions to speed the process along most. If you have any questions and let me know what techniques do you like me to cover in the future? See you next time.